The Winter Park Colorado TransAM almost didn’t happen. Winds of up to 106 mph and heavy snowfalls the day before the event created stupid road conditions closing both I-70 and Berthoud Pass (i.e., the roads to Winter Park). Avalanche danger was high, travelers were stranded … it was a mess.
Regardless, the WP park crew braved the snow hurricane to build out one heckuva Mini Park. As trees snapped around them and snows whipped them like they were ton-tons on planet Hoth, they erected scaffolding, set rails, and wrestled with a fiberglass horse. With a bitchin’ Mini Park built and a forecast for nice weather, we all went to bed hoping the roads would reopen so the competitors could get to the mountain.
Awaking to sunshine, no wind, and warm weather, we turned on the news looking for road closure updates. Instead, we found the morning news crew reviewing different brands of hot chocolate. Taking sips and saying things like, “Wow Jane! This almost tastes like pudding!” Our assumption: The roads must be open if this is the kind of crap they’re covering on the news.
We were wrong. Adam Kisiel (co-announcer) called to let us know that he and Majai (the DJ) were driving over from Breckenridge the back way through Kremling because the roads were in fact still closed (damn), and they were currently stuck in a ditch (double damn). It turns out roads were closed for a good reason.
Nonetheless enough competitors (75 out of 100) showed up to registration. Not bad considering all the roads were closed … The scene at WP was surreal for the Saturday of Presidents Day weekend: perfect weather and NO CROWDS. The 75 competitors that made it got to shred WP’s park, The Rail Yard, with no lift lines while waiting for the event to start. (Note: if you’ve never been to WP, you have to go-it’s a truly amazing resort and the park is unbridled awesomeness).
Kisiel and Majai rolled into WP minutes before start time like a tornado of speakers, turntables, mixers and microphones. The power switch was flipped and the TransAM was underway.
The Mini Park consisted of two bomb drops (scaffolding: 10 feet and 5 feet), a couch gap, a huge corrugated culvert pipe, a jump over “Kid” (the fiberglass horse), a breakaway banner gap, a triple-ledge box, a quadruple barrel jib, and a mini quarter pipe/table feature. The 75 riders quickly figured out the set up and the action was fierce. A steady stream of backflip and frontflip variations awed the crowd, and some ultra-tech rail and jump tricks awed the judges. Seventeen-year-old Ben Lynch looked like he was riding a different course than the rest of the field with backside sevens and huge tweaked out straight airs (practically a lost art). A gal named Izzy Lalive did everything from backlips to backflips. Pauly Weston had some mean full extension hand-plant/stands, Mike Marohn’s style was insane, and last year’s winner Maxwell Scott entertained the crowd with some funny moves. Super standouts were Matt Kennedy with a switch b/s 5 off the culvert pipe, and first place finisher Mark Kelsic with a f/s 180 on cab 360 off the culvert.
A bonus round took place after the finals as each rider had one shot at best trick on Kid (the fiberglass horse). The real Kid, the horse that inspired the fiberglass model made a guest appearance, whinnying in disbelief. Pauley Weston did a front handspring off Kid’s forehead winning a victory ride on the real Kid. It was all very strange.
A big thanks to the event’s sponsors: Oakley, DaKine, Ride, Freebord, Zumiez and Allyance; Winter Park, and of course Kid the most famous horse in snowboarding. The top three riders qualified for the finals at Northstar and are one step closer to winning a trip to the TransWorld Team Challenge and to High Cascade Snowboard Camp this summer. We’ll see you March 11 at Mountain Creek, New Jersey at the next stop of the TransAM Series. Go to www.highcascade.com for online registration.
1st Mark Kelsic
2nd Matt Kennedy
3rd Pauly Weston
1st Izzy Lalive
2nd Emily Blewitt
3rd Laura Williams
B.O.N.E.R. Award (Best Overall Nutty Extreme Rider)
Best Trick on Kid (the horse)